Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bring Back AstroWorld?

John Marine | 5/02/2012 03:45:00 PM | |
Six Flags AstroWorld used to be Houston's premier theme park for over 37 years. There was Six Flags Astroworld and the adjacent Waterworld amusement park for those who wanted to enjoy some watery fun. It was permanently closed down in 2005, much to the dismay of those who loved Six Flags Astroworld here in Houston. These days, the nearest Six Flags in the Houston/Galveston where you can go to is Six Flags Fiesta Texas in Arlington, TX, USA. You can go to Schlitterbahn or Splashtown here in the area if you prefer going to a local watery theme park. While AstroWorld is perhaps best known for the Texas Cyclone, you can nowadays enjoy a roller coaster experience in Kemah by riding the Boardwalk Bullet.

You see where I'm going with this? I am basically sharing that as AstroWorld is no longer with us, you can enjoy the theme park experience in the Houston/Galveston area today... only that you have to go to multiple sites. This blog post is somewhat a look at AstroWorld as well as thoughts on if you would want to see Six Flags AstroWorld return. Or, I'll ask if you think maybe some other theme park should return to the Houston area, or if you think it should be called something besides AstroWorld.

--- AstroWorld Today ---

So what does the area look like now? Well... what used to be Six Flags Astroworld is now this:

Six Flags AstroWorld grass
^ from: (my Facebook profile) - Uploaded September 1, 2010; this grassy lot used to be Houston's premier theme park.

Would you want Six Flags Astroworld back? Even if under a new name? Even if you have to pay taxes or something for it to return? Or, maybe... is Houston better off without Six Flags Astroworld or some other theme park?

--- Thoughts on AstroWorld ---

I have never been on any rides or anything at Six Flags AstroWorld. Honestly- my ONLY experience at AstroWorld was simply being in a parking lot with my mom waiting to pick up my brother. I have never been inside Six Flags AstroWorld for anything.

While I haven't been to AstroWorld, I have known a handful of people whom HAVE enjoyed the Six Flags AstroWorld between its lifespan (opened June 1, 1968; closed October 30, 2005). One thing about Houston is so much about being a world-class city while not being overly glamourous. AstroWorld was one representation of that. You could enjoy a theme park experience in a great location in a vastly underrated city. You don't have to go to Orlando to Disneyland- you can come down to Houston in the shadow of the great Astrodome and enjoy the rides at AstroWorld. Or if you want to beat the Texas heat, try visiting the WaterWorld part of AstroWorld. AstroWorld's biggest attraction was the Texas Cyclone. There were also fun attractions such as Fright Fest at AstroWorld during Halloween time.

AstroWorld's Demise.

This is according to a YouTube comment I read: AstroWorld closed down because the CEO of Six Flags AstroWorld noted AstroWorld wasn't performing very well- costing more to maintain rather than gaining sufficient revenue. The plan to demolish the land to help make some good money off of it ultimately didn't work. So in the end, AstroWorld got the deathblow, and many Houstonians and those looking to visit Houston could no longer can enjoy going to AstroWorld.

It's a great shame to be honest. Here used to be a great theme park to enjoy getting on rides and going to shows at. Really sad this great theme park is no longer with us.

Facts and Figures on AstroWorld.

When Six Flags AstroWorld closed down, here are a few figures on this old theme park:

• 1968 opening, 2005 closing
• 57 acres
• 119 permanent jobs lost
• attracted 1500 seasonal workers per year

So it's [still] sad to see this institution no longer with us and the impact its demolition has left.

The Area Today.

That big heap of grass is what used to be Six Flags AstroWorld and the adjacent WaterWorld. The only remaining element of AstroWorld still standing is the pedestrian bridge linking from what is now Reliant Park to AstroWorld. The only really active part of the area is Reliant Stadium. Reliant Stadium is, of course, home of the Houston Texans of the National Football League as well as home to various sporting events, such as Monster Jam, AMA Supercross, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It even plays host to the Texas Bowl in college football.

Besides this, Reliant Center hosts many conventions. I've been to Reliant Center a number of times to attend the Houston Auto Show. I've even been to my first Houston Boat Show at Reliant Center, and I even been to Reliant Center in 2003 to attend Hot Import Nights. Reliant Arena was home to the defunct Houston Comets of the WNBA. And what about the Astrodome- which has been the home of the Houston Astros and the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans)? Many people have thought of things such as demolishing the Astrodome and replacing it with something else, or some other things to do with the Astrodome.

--- Should/Could AstroWorld Return? ---

I have a number of thoughts on if this theme park should return. There are still a lot of people who wonder what should be done with the Astrodome, let alone bringing back AstroWorld. The big heap of grass that used to be Six Flags AstroWorld would be better off... as Six Flags AstroWorld. Even if people had to pay more taxes or whatever just to pump money into the city and to that specific part of Houston just to bring back AstroWorld, so be it.

There are still more ways to enjoy some fun around Houston besides AstroWorld. For example, you can go to Discovery Green in downtown Houston for some fun on a warm Houston day. I don't think that Six Flags AstroWorld's absence makes Houston a less entertaining city. There is plenty to do here to enjoy Houston. While AstroWorld's demise hurts, it wouldn't hurt to bring back such an institution. The only reasons why I think AstroWorld may no longer return is either if there is no real interest bringing it back or any sort of economic issues.

I still think Houston is a world-class city with lots of culture and character even if it lacks the appeal of other world-class American cities. One of the many things to show Houston IS a world-class city is with Houston's own theme park- AstroWorld. Maybe the quality to show that the area can still generate some great money is how the Texans are doing, especially with their 2011 AFC South-winning campaign along with their first playoff win. I would think seeing a theme park return to the area would be great to make the area interesting and fun outside of Reliant Park. I don't even care if you call it Reliant AstroWorld- it would be great to see a high-quality theme park return to that heap of grass that used to be AstroWorld. I read there was supposed to be a theme park north of Houston called EarthQuest (or something). That did NOT materialize due to EarthQuest facing bankruptcy. Anything to help make Houston any more attractive and worth visiting is fine with me- including bringing back AstroWorld (or some other high-quality theme park).

At least... these are MY thoughts. How about yours?

--- Video Memories of AstroWorld ---

Here are some YouTube videos to help showcase what AstroWorld has meant to Houston, Houstonians, and visitors. If you can't view the videos, then text links will be supplemented below each video so you can view the videos privately.

^ "Six Flags Astroworld Timeline"

^ "Six Flags AstroWorld - Texas Tornado"

^ "This used to be Astroworld."

^ "Six Flags Astroworld Fright Fest Front gate"

Astroworld/Waterworld Commercial, 1983

And finally (sadly)...

^ "AstroWorld Closing - KHOU"

Sad memories... eh, fellow Houstonians?

--- AstroWorld Resources ---

A few resources on AstroWorld can be visited at these links:

AstroWorld Facebook Fan Page « fan page?
(a Facebook petition to bring back AstroWorld)
Six Flags AstroWorld Wikipedia page - an AstroWorld Tribute Site
SixflagsHouston on YouTube « a fan site
Astroworld Employee's Tribute Site

(More links may be added in future edits.)

--- Cross-Promotion/Other Reading ---

I hope you enjoyed my blog post. Here are some more readings in case you want to look at some more material of mine:

Houston: Underrated and Underappreciated
^ Houston is one of the most underrated and least-appreciated cities in the United States. I show my reasons why this city is better than what most people make it out to be by looking at this blog post.

(all Houston/Galveston posts)
^ Click on this link to see all of the latest posts in the "Houston/Galveston" category. These are posts dedicated to people from and living in the Houston/Galveston area. I can't leave behind my fellow Houstonians in my blog. This is an international blog, but I can NOT forget my fellow hometown people.

I do these cross-promotion sections because I love that you visited my blog. I want to interest you in other posts of mine. I want you to see more of my work if you've enjoyed your time here. So please, look around. There's MUCH more I've posted here that's worth your time! :)

So do you think AstroWorld (or some other theme park) should return to the Houston area? Are there certain deterrents and obstacles that could prevent such a theme park returning to Houston? Can today's Houston sustain a new theme park? Feel free to comment away. Thank you for reading!

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GlamKitten88 said...

Astroworld looks like so much fun!  I love places like this.  The videos put me in the mood for a trip to Six Flags.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88 

GlamChameleon said...

Hello my dear friend, hope you enjoyed this weekend!! The thing I love about your site is that you write about so many versatile things, and everything has educational base. So I'm learning something new each time I open your page!:) Have a beautiful start of the new week!!!

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